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Breed of the Week: Alaskan Malamute

So, as some may have noticed, I’m having difficulty keeping Breed of the Week to Monday.  This is partially due to ongoing fatigue and partially due to the time requirements of the 4 kittens I’m currently bottle feeding, which adds to the fatigue.  For those reasons, at least for the time being, Breed of the Week won’t be on a certain day, just whatever day I can get to it during the week.  Now, on to the fun part!

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This week we’re taking look at a heavyweight breed that can pull anywhere from 1,100-3,300 lbs, the Alaskan Malamute.  This is a breed that is definitely not for everyone.  They are not recommended for first-time or inexperienced dog owners as they can and often do try to take charge.  Owners need to be able to let them know who’s in charge and maintain firm boundaries.  These are also dogs bred specifically for strength and endurance.  They need a job and plenty of exercise, not just a jaunt around the block.

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Unlike Siberian Huskies that were bred for speed and stamina, Alaskan Malamutes were bred for strength and stamina.  They were never meant for the sled dog races, though some still participate.  Instead, Alaskan Malamutes were bred to pull heavy freight weighing hundreds, perhaps thousands of pounds, filled with food and supplies to villages and camps across great frozen wildernesses.  They worked in teams of at least 4 dogs for heavy loads and pulled day after day and mile after mile.

Among the Mahlemut tribe and many other peoples in the frozen north, they were and still are highly prized not only for their pulling capability, but also for their ability to hunt alongside their handlers.  They aided hunters in finding blow holes in the ice from seals and were even used to hunt large predators like bears.

There is much controversy surrounding sled dog races and the use of sled dogs in general.  I am of the opinion, unpopular though it may be with certain parties, that with a proper handler who bonds with and cares for his or her dogs, sled dog racing and the use of sled dogs is not inhumane.  These dogs were bred for and even enjoy their jobs.  Most are not forced to pull or run and, for many, stopping is the real issue.  Without very much exercise, sled dogs become bored and destructive and can become escape artists in order to fulfill their need to run as many husky owners can attest.

Jack on Tread Mill IAs an example, at one point we owned a Border Collie (Mom brought him home not understanding his breed and that breed’s needs).  For a long time, he didn’t get enough exercise.  He started to become bored and engage in destructive behaviors like pottying in the house.  He was also becoming aggressive.  After all, that excess energy had to go somewhere (though he had other issues, as well, that contributed to the aggression, but that’s another story).  The point is, like Alaskan Malamutes, Siberian Huskies, Alaskan Huskies, Samoyed, and other traditional sled dogs, he was a Border Collie bred to herd livestock for hours over long distances.  He needed a job to do and a lot more exercise than he was getting at the time.  A lot more exercise.  Why deny sled dogs their natural instinct and need to run and pull?  To me, it’s like owning a Border Collie, bred for work, and denying him a job or exercise (I did try to give him the exercise he needed, we all did, but I was unwell, my sister was unwell, my mom works full-time, and the whole family wasn’t in a good place to own a dog with those specific needs).  Isn’t denying them that instinctive enjoyment crueler than having them pull sleds or run in a race?

In any case, any practice involving an animal can be cruel, but that is dependant on the methods and choices of the handlers.  When proper care and humane methods are used, there is no reason these dogs, specifically bred for running and pulling, shouldn’t pull sleds or run dog sled races.

The Alaskan Malamute is an old breed thought to have been created by the Malamiut Inupiaq people around 1 thousand years ago, which predates modern breeds.  Alaskan Malamutes show a close genetic relationship with both the Siberian and Alaskan Huskies.  Although they were thought to be related to the Greenland Dog and the Canadian Eskimo Dog, it has since been proven they do not share close genetic markers with them, but instead are related to the Chukotka sled dogs of Siberia.

Alaskan Malamutes have a high prey drive due to the way they were bred.  They needed that high prey drive to survive, and help their handlers survive, in the harsh frozen north.  Not all Alaskan Malamutes are suited to homes with smaller dogs, cats, or other small animals they might see as prey.  One’s best bet in getting an Alaskan Malamute that tolerates smaller pets is to socialize them well as a puppy and throughout adult life.  Let them grow up with smaller animals and correct them if they get too rough.  Another way is through a local shelter or rescue.  Many shelters and rescues temperament test dogs to see how they do around other dogs, big and small, and around cats and possibly other critters if asked.

These are very people-friendly dogs.  Everyone they meet is their friend.  For this reason, they do not do well as watchdogs except in the way an intruder may be scared off by their size.  They also don’t bark very much at all.  The sounds one might hear from an Alaskan Malamute is more often a “woo-wooing” sound or all out howling.  They’re active and outgoing and do best in homes with active people that will take them on adventures with them, whether that be running, hiking, biking, or dog sledding.

Their people-friendly nature also makes them highly sought after family dogs.  They’re careful around furniture and smaller objects, although they can get too excited and knock over a small child, and keep themselves meticulously clean in a very cat-like manner.

As an athletic breed, Alaskan Malamutes excel in weight pulling, skijoring, bikejoring, backpacking, mushing, carting, canicross, and agility, as well as more intellectual pursuits like conformation and obedience competitions.  Although some people see them as unintelligent or stubborn because of their independent nature, they are actually highly intelligent and resourceful when trained in a proper manner.  They’re often of the “what do I get out of it” mindset and become bored easily with repetitive tasks.  Training should, therefore, be fun, creative, reward-based, and done in short bursts in order to keep their attention from wandering.

Skijоring
Skijoring
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Bikejoring
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Canicross
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Mushing

Bred to handle harsh, freezing environments, Alaskan Malamutes are quite happy to spend their time in the outdoors, even, or perhaps especially when it’s cold and snowy.  In areas where summer temperatures go above 70° Fahrenheit, Alaskan Malamutes should have 24/7 access to shade, drinking water, and a pool full of water for them to cool down in.  If they do not have 24/7 access to these things, they should be kept mostly indoors where the AC is on and they can then regulate their temperature.  Keep in mind, Alaskan Malamutes are diggers and fences should be erected accordingly.  Rather than trying to stop them from digging, as that is often a lesson in futility, it’s better to make a place where they are allowed to dig such as a dirt pile in the corner of the yard or a sand box.

Although Alaskan Malamutes are often mistaken for Siberian Huskies, there is a huge difference in size as shown below.  Hint:  the Alaskan Malamute is the bigger one 😋

Siberian-Husky-Alaskan-Malamute

Alaskan Malamutes have a thick double coat.  The outer coat, or guard coat, is short and coarse, while the dense but soft undercoat is 1-2 inches deep.  The under coat is often oily and has a wooly texture to repel wetness and insulate against the cold.  They shed heavily twice a year, but still shed consistently throughout the year and should be brushed 2-3 times weekly to minimize the shedding of dead hair, prevent mats, and distribute skin oils.  The tail has a plume effect and can be shaped like cork screw at the end, which enables them to cover their nose with their tail to keep it warm.  Their nose is usually black, but can be what is known as a “snow nose” in which it is dark with a pink undertone and can change colors, getting lighter or darker, according to the seasons.  They are also equipped with “snowshoes,” that is, toes with webbing between them that allows them to walk closer to the top of the snow, thus making traveling in snow easier.

The coat colors are usually various shades of grey and white, sable and white, black and white, seal and white, red and white, or solid white.  They can have many different markings, such as, face markings, blazes, a splash at the nape of the neck, a collar, or a half collar.  The underbelly should be mostly white, as should the paws, parts of the legs, and part of the face markings.

If you are interested in purchasing or adopting an Alaskan Malamute, please, please, please do your research!  As stated above, this breed is not for everyone.  They are strong, energetic, get bored easily, need tons of exercise, dig, and can very easily get themselves in trouble if they don’t have enough physical and mental activities to drain their energy and keep them occupied.  But, if you’re looking for a great family dog that’s loyal, quiet but will talk back and forth with you, big and fluffy, clean as a cat, loves to run and pull, loves people, and will keep you on your toes, the Alaskan Malamute might be the dog for you!

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Fun Fact:  The Alaskan Malamute is the state dog of Alaska and is often used in movies to portray wolves.

Do you or have you owned an Alaskan Malamute? Please tell us about him/her in the comments below!  I’d love to hear about your experiences with the breed.

Have suggestions?  Comment below!

Have a breed you’d like to see featured in our next Breed of the Week?  Leave your suggestion in the comments below!

If you liked this post, please consider becoming a part of our Fluffybutt Family by liking, sharing, and/or following our blog.  We’d love to share our journey with you!

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Breed of the Week: Harrier

The Harrier is a very rare and not very popular breed of dog.  Those who love it, though, may affectionately describe it as “a Beagle on steroids.”

The origin of the Harrier breed isn’t rightly known.  Some believe they came about from the crossbreeding of the Bloodhound, Talbot Hound, and Basset Hound.  Others believe they are bred-down English Foxhounds.  Still others think they may have come about through the crossbreeding of the English Foxhound, the Fox Terrier, and the Greyhound.

Like Beagles and Foxhounds, Harriers were bred to hunt in packs.  They mainly hunted hare, but were later also used in fox hunting and the hunting of other game too fast for Beagles.  It is said the stamina of the Harrier is such that their prey would drop from exhaustion while being pursued by a pack of Harriers.  Even though the Harrier has now become primarily a family companion, that tirelessness has not gone away.  Harriers need plenty of exercise; a long daily walk, jog, run, bike, or hike will do.  They will otherwise get bored and may become desctructive or obnoxious.  For this reason, they do best with an active family or, at the very least, a family with a large, fenced yard or fenced-in acreage for them to roam.  When not within a fenced area, Harriers should always be kept on leash so they don’t take off after a rabbit or squirrel and end up getting lost.

As a typical hound, Harriers are independent-minded and can be stubborn.  Training should, therefore, be reward based and start at an early age.  Puppy classes and obedience classes are highly recommended for this breed!

Not quite as outgoing as the Beagle, Harriers are, nevertheless, very people and dog-friendly.  As pack animals, they should never be dog aggressive.  They are excellent with children with their playful, gentle nature and thick bones, which makes it harder to accidentally injure them.  Nevertheless, children and pets should always be supervised.  Harriers also require supervision when around smaller, non-canine pets as they may view them as prey.  They can get along with cats if introduced to them at a young age.

As pack dogs, Harriers prefer not to be left on their own for long periods of time.  If left alone too long, they may start baying constantly, which will most certainly get on the nerves of neighbors within hearing distance.  One should take this into consideration before purchasing or adopting a Harrier.  Even though they dislike being left alone, Harriers do not demand constant attention.  They are very capable of doing their own thing, but it’s up to their owners to be sure they’re behaving and not creating mischief.

Harriers are excellent watchdogs as they will bark or bay at anything they see, hear, or smell that’s strange or wrong.  They should not be kept as guard dogs, though, as they will happily greet anyone that gets close enough and then sit and watch as they make off with the household goods.

The coat of the Harrier is short and shiny.  It comes in several different colors, but the most common are tricolor (black, tan, and white), and red and white.  Grooming is easy as it’s needed only once a week, sometimes less, and need only last a couple minutes, enough to remove loose fur and distribute skin oils.

Fun Fact: The Harrier breed is still not recognized in England even though there are many working Harrier packs.

Do you or have you owned a Harrier? Please tell us about him/her in the comments below!  I’d love to hear about your experiences with the breed.

Have suggestions?  Comment below!

Have a breed you’d like to see featured in our next Breed of the Week?  Leave your suggestion in the comments below!

If you liked this post, please consider becoming a part of our Fluffybutt Family by liking, sharing, and/or following our blog.  We’d love to share our journey with you!

Fostering Saves Lives!

My name is Mr. Love.  I was found by Shantewa in her family’s backyard.  I was limping, but I still walked right up to her and let her pick me up.  I just wanted attention so badly.  I purred and purred as she held me and carried me inside to safety.

Mr. Love rescued

(A kitten ran up to her the same day I did … coincidence?  I think it was a sign she needed to foster 😼  The kitten, however, was claimed by her hoomans not long after Shantewa found her.)

Kitten rescued right after Mr. Love

I was dirty and covered in scabs.  My paw hurt a lot and was swollen.  They suspected I had a cyst from a bite from another cat (it was a bite 😾 cause I’m feisty like that).  My eye also seemed to have some kind of infection.  I was rather skinny, but not skinny enough to have gone without food for a long time.  They thought I was being fed and petted by someone.  But they didn’t know who.  So Shantewa asked around to see if I had a family missing me.  She knew she couldn’t take too much time looking, though, because the infection in my paw would probably just get worse the longer they put off getting vet care.

Mr. Love's injured paw

They kept a careful watch on my leg, making sure it didn’t look any worse while they waited to see if I had a home and put saline solution in my eye to clear up the infection there.  Sadly, they didn’t have money to pay for vet care themselves.  When no one claimed me and they thought they couldn’t wait any longer to get vet care, they determined my best chance was the local animal shelter.  The shelter is always a gamble, though, so they didn’t want to take me there if they didn’t have to.

Then, a miracle!  A local rescue by the name of PAWS Rescue Inc. offered to take care of my vet bills if only they would foster me.  Shantewa consulted her mom (the property owner) and they said yes!  I had a foster family that would care for me, teach me, and love me as if I were their own.  No shelter for Mr. Love!

Shantewa was the one that named me Mr. Love for my super affectionate nature and the way I purred when I was picked up or petted even though I was in pain and uncomfortable (I just love being loved!).

Shantewa gave me my very first bath, which I hated, by the way 🙀, although I loved the way I felt afterward, when I was all groomed and dry.

She and Patricia took me to the vet where they looked me over (my eye was totally better by then thanks to the saline solution drops they put in it 😺) and gave them antibiotics for the cyst in my paw.  As I started to heal, I began to trust Shantewa and her family more and more.  I even played with her and asked for lovins (which she gave because I’m just that good 😼).

I found out I liked their cat, Merlin, even if he was a bit standoffish.  I even liked their other cat, Morgana, who seemed to really not like me (I think she’s in denial)!  I was ok with Patricia’s dog, Luna, until she rudely tried to play with me, which is scary because she’s so much bigger than me!  But I love Shantewa’s mellow little dog, Pixie.  I like to cuddle with her and lay on top of her, and she’s totally cool with it as long as I don’t try to groom her or give her love bites.

I proved I was as good as my name when they rescued a kitten, which they decided to foster along with me.

I adored her!  They named her Cleopatra (Cleo for short) and I became her foster dad.  I took such good care of her, too!

I groomed her.

Grooming Cleo

And loved her.

Mr. Love cuddling with Cleo

And showed her all the cat things to do, like pottying in the litter box (and sometimes right outside of it 😸) and scratching on the scratching post and playing and cuddling and sleeping with the hoomans.

After my antibiotics were done (ew!), Patricia took me back to the vet to be “fixed,” whatever that means.  I’m not broken!  They gave me stuff that made me very sleepy, and when I woke up I felt really wobbly and kind of sick.  Patricia came with Shantewa to pick me up and take me back to my foster home and away from that scary place!

More cuddles with Mr. LoveIt didn’t take very long for me to start to feel better.  In fact, I was feeling even better than before they made me fall asleep, imagine that!  Maybe they really did “fix” me because I felt much less stir crazy!  I didn’t feel like I needed to cry up and down the stairs anymore or get out to find a queen.  I like being petted even more now and I love cuddling up to my foster family, especially Shantewa (she is the one who saved me, after all 😻).  I feel like playing a lot more, too!

Life is just really good with my foster family, especially now that they’re fostering a second kitten they named Alexander the Great (Xander for short).  I get to be his foster dad, too!

I’ve just had my last booster on Wednesday, which means I’m now ready to find a family of my own, a furever family.  After I get my photo taken, anyway, and they had better get my good side!  I can’t wait to find a furever family (and I hope they foster kittens, too!).  I was saved from going to the shelter, where I may or may not have survived, by Shantewa and her family deciding to foster.

You can save a life, too!  If you have room in your home and in your hearts, please consider fostering a pet.  There are so many dogs and cats, like me, that don’t have a home.  Fostering saves lives!  And always remember to adopt, don’t shop!

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Breed of the Week: Poodle

She’s beauty.  She’s grace.  She’s … a Poodle!  That’s right, this week we’re taking a closer look at another popular dog breed, the Poodle.

Bo_the_poodle_retrieving_a_duckMany of you may not know this, but the Poodle isn’t a dog bred all for show.  They were actually bred as water retrievers first and foremost.  Even those strange haircuts may have had a purpose.  Some believe the extravagant show clips evolved from working clips meant to protect joints and major internal organs from cold water while the rest was shaved to reduce drag while swimming.  Of course, there are also those that theorize the show clips came from the unique clips used to garner attention when poodles were trained to do tricks in the French circus.

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Dated 1849-1858

Most agree the Poodle came from Germany, but was more fully developed as a water dog in France.  It is also believed to be one of the oldest breeds developed for hunting waterfowl.  There are, however, several theories regarding its ancestry.  Was it a descendant of crossbreeds between Spanish, Portuguese, French, German, Hungarian, and Russian water dogs?  Or does it descend from the North African Barber that was imported to the Iberian Peninsula and the transported to Gaul where it was used for it’s hunting abilities.  Or was it descended from Asian herding dogs, which were then crossbred with dogs traveling with the Germanic Goth and Ostrogoth tribes and eventually came to be used as a water dog?  Or, this last theory, was it a descendant of dogs brought out of the Asian steppes by the conquering North African Berbers and found it’s way to Portugal with the Moors?  Whichever theory is correct, scholars agree the Poodle is a very old breed.  In fact, there are illustrations depicting dogs that look very much like modern-day Poodles on both Roman and Egyptian artifacts dating back to early B.C.

They were later bred (small Poodle to small Poodle, not Poodle to a different, smaller breed of dog) to create smaller Poodles, the Miniature and Toy varieties.  Miniature Poodles were then used to sniff out truffles, a strong-smelling underground fungus that resembles a rough-skinned potato and is considered a culinary delicacy, while Toy Poodles were bred to be companions to the nobility and wealthy merchant class.  Poodles have also contributed to the development of several breed including the Miniature Schnauzer, the Standard Schnauzer, and dogs of the Bichon type.

Today, Poodles are mostly companion dogs, though some Standard Poodles are still used as hunting and water dogs.  As companions, they are dignified and intelligent, but are not without their playful side.  They can be both goofy and mischievous and are always up for a good game.  Poodles are also very people-friendly and are eager to please.  This makes for a highly trainable dog and those that are taught manners from a young age and are consistently exercised to drain excess energy, often end up having an overall calm disposition.  Miniature and Toy Poodles may or may not be higher strung than their larger counterparts.

Poodles can be wonderful companions to children, but caution should be taken with Toy Poodles as they are more delicate than the larger Poodle varieties and may get hurt more easily.  Poodles can also do well with other pets as long as they have exposure to them often enough from the time they’re a puppy.  Introductions of new dogs or other animals might otherwise take more time and specialized training.

Poodles have a great deal of energy and will need plenty of exercise as well as intellectual games to keep them from getting bored, which will also keep them out of trouble.  They get lonely when left at home by themselves or when left out of activities their family is participating in and may developed separation anxiety if this is a frequent occurrence.  That reserve of energy and intelligence also means, however, that they can and often do excel in dog sports such as, agility, flyball, dock diving, field tracking, and schutzhund.  They also excel in show and obedience competitions.  So, too, have they been used as war or army dogs by the Army, Navy, and Coast Guard.

Unlike many water, hunting, and gun dogs, Poodles do not have a double coat.  They have one layer of dense, curly fur.  They shed very minimally, so much so that they are often considered hypoallergenic and many people with dog allergies can keep a Poodle with no issue.  But they do shed, the dead hair simply gets tangled in their coat rather than falling loose.  For this reason, Poodles need to be brushed daily to remove dead hair as, without it, their coat will very quickly develop mats.  They should be groomed every 6-8 weeks, whether that be at home or at a professional groomer.  Pet clips are usually much less elaborate than show clips, but is ultimately dependant upon the owner’s preference.  Many owners maintain a puppy or lamb clip, as these tend to be simpler.

In the show ring, most breed registries only allow certain types of clips for Poodles competing in conformation.  The American Kennel Club allows 2 types for adult Poodles, and these are, the “Continental” clip and the “English Saddle” clip.  Puppies under 12 months of age can be shown in a “puppy clip,” and Poodles being shown in the Stud Dog and Brood Bitch classes may be shown in a “Sporting” clip.

Corded coats, like those seen on Komondors or a person with dreadlocks, were once as common on Poodles as the curly coat, but the trend as fallen out of favor with most Poodle owners.  It is now considered rare, but a Poodle with a corded coat can be shown in any major kennel club.

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Corded coat

A Poodle’s coat can be a wide variety of colors including white, black, brown, parti, silver, grey, silver beige, apricot, red, cream, sable, and patterns such as phantom and bridle.  Those with phantom, bridle, or sable colors or patterns are not recognized by any major registries.

If you are considering purchasing or adopting a Poodle, please research them beforehand!  Poodles are amazing and diverse dogs, but they are not necessarily for everyone.  Their energy and intelligence means they can get bored easily and may turn to destructive or obnoxious behaviors to occupy themselves.  They are also one of the few dogs with an intense keenness to express instinctive behaviors like marking and hunting, which may make training a bit more difficult than it might otherwise be.  Their coat care is considered high maintenance due to the need for daily brushings and the need for grooming every 6-8 weeks.  However, if you’re looking for a happy but dignified companion with a mischievous and goofy streak, that is people-friendly, loves being included in family activities, is a great adventure buddy, and is pretty much hypoallergenic, the Poodle might just be the dog for you!

Fun Fact: Poodle owner’s in the Renaissance era often carried their Toy Poodles in their large shirtsleeves, thus giving rise to the name “sleeve dog.”

Do you or have you owned a Poodle? Please tell us about him/her in the comments below!  I’d love to hear about your experiences with the breed.

Have suggestions?  Comment below!

Have a breed you’d like to see featured in our next Breed of the Week?  Leave your suggestion in the comments below!

If you liked this post, please consider becoming a part of our Fluffybutt Family by liking, sharing, and/or following our blog.  We’d love to share our journey with you!

Breed of the Week: Sussex Spaniel

This week we’re taking a look at the relatively rare breed known as the Sussex Spaniel.  This compact spaniel was first developed for specific hunting purposes in Hastings, East Sussex in southern England.  They have a look quite similar to a dark colored Clumber Spaniel, but are notably shorter and weigh less.

961px-Clumber_Spaniel_on_Grass
Clumber Spaniel

What makes the Sussex unique among other spaniel breeds is, one, their golden liver-colored coat and, two, the way they howl and bark when on the trail of their prey, a trait usually found in hound breeds rather than spaniels.  Historically, they were bred to hunt as gun dogs in specific conditions, such as, rough terrain or dense foliage where their howling and barking was necessary for the hunter to keep track of their position.

The Sussex Spaniel is thought to have been developed from the crossbreeding of the Norfolk Spaniel, which is now extinct, the Field Spaniel, and possibly early English Springer Spaniels.

 

Sussex Spaniels are generally calmer and slower-paced when compared to other spaniel breeds.  They do, however, have great stamina and a “never give up” mindset.  For this reason, they make excellent walking and hiking companions in addition to being excellent gun dogs.  As companion animals, they are friendly and cheerful and enjoy being with their people most of all.

95240809_be6b739054_bGentle and even-tempered, Sussex Spaniels do well with children if introduced to and socialized with them at a young age.  They also get along well with other dogs, but may be aggressive toward dogs they don’t know if not properly socialized early on.  Puppy classes and/or frequent trips to the local dog park are wonderful ways to ensure they receive plenty of both human and canine attention.

Sussex Spaniels do not do well when left on their own for long periods of time or if ignored for too long, and this should be taken into consideration when purchasing or adopting one of these dogs.  They can become anxious, destructive, or obnoxiously loud if left alone too long or too often.  Their preferred place is at the side of their family members.

They make excellent watch dogs with their tendency to bark at strange noises and new people.  However, it’s advisable to teach them the “quiet” command early on so they don’t become incessant barkers and annoy the neighbors.  They are intelligent dogs and learn quickly, but they can also be stubborn and require patient and consistent training.  Training sessions should be kept short and fun, no longer than 15 minutes, in order to maintain the Sussex Spaniel’s interest and attention.

Sussex Spaniels have long, thick coats that are either straight or slightly wavy, but not curly.  They are double-coated with a water resistant undercoat and a silky outer coat.  They shed moderately year-round.  Loose fur can be brushed out daily or weekly to minimize the amount shed onto carpet and furniture.  The coat should be a rich golden liver, though historically there have also been black and sandy-colored Sussex Spaniels, without another color, shades of liver, or markings.

Exercise needs are moderate, only a 20-30 minute walk a day, but Sussex Spaniels are always up for an adventure and will rarely object to going longer and farther.  After all, they were bred for endurance and determination.

If you are considering purchasing or adopting this unique spaniel, please do your research!  These dogs are not for everyone.  They are primarily working dogs and require activities to both drain their energy and keep them from getting bored.  They can also be noisy if not properly trained when young, so people living in areas with noise restrictions may want to consider getting a different breed of dog.  If you’re looking for a protective, somewhat clownish companion with the heart and drive to compete in dog sports like agility, tracking, and hunt tests, who will follow you around the house as well as go on outdoor adventures with you, the Sussex Spaniel might be the dog for you!

Stump_Best_of_Show_Westminster

Fun Fact:  In 2009, a Sussex Spaniel won best in show at the 133rd Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show.  The spaniel’s name was Clussexx Three D Grinchy Glee, aka Stump, and he was 10 years old, the oldest dog to ever win best in show.

Do you or have you owned a Sussex Spaniel? Please tell us about him/her in the comments below!  I’d love to hear about your experiences with the breed.

Have suggestions?  Comment below!

Have a breed you’d like to see featured in our next Breed of the Week?  Leave your suggestion in the comments below!

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Breed of the Week: Bombay

I’m baaaaaaaack!  Been awhile.  Had a lot of family visiting in the past few weeks, which was fun 😁  My cousin came down from South Dakota to visit for a few days.  She’s practically a sister (is a sister, really) to Patricia and I.  We hadn’t seen her for close to 4 years, so it was really nice to catch up with her.  Sadly, she didn’t get to stay as long as we all wanted.  Then we had our eldest sister, her husband, and her two boys (the cutest nephews in the whole world, though I admit I’m biased 😋) stay with us through Labor Day weekend.  It’s always fun to see them and hear about their latest exploits.

In any case, I took a break, but now I’m back and ready to dive back in.  Today we’re taking a look at the Bombay, the only recognized breed of all black cats.

The Bombay, although named after a port city in India, was developed in Kentucky by breeder Nikki Horner.  She crossed sable colored Burmese cats with black American Shorthairs.  The vision she strove for and eventually achieved was a cat that resembled a sleek-bodied miniature panther.  The cross was recognized as its own distinct breed, the Bombay, by the Cat Fancier Association in 1978.

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Burmese
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American Shorthair

Bombays are friendly, long, and muscular cats with sleek fur and lively personalities.  They love people and are great with other animals so long as they remain top cat among the felines.  When not playing, they can be found hogging the warmest spots in the house such as the windowsill where the sun comes in, on top of the folded towels just out of the drier, or right in their human’s lap.

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When it comes to playtime, Bombays are all for a game of fetch, chase the red dot, or catch the teaser, though they’ll also be content to play on their own with an interactive toy should their human be busy.  These are intelligent cats that enjoy learning new tricks and games.  They can also be taught to walk on a leash should one wish to take them outside for walks and fun in the sun.

The Bombay’s slick, short black coat needs very minimal care.  A brushing once a month or less will do and baths are rarely, if ever, necessary.  The coat, toes, and nose should all be black and the fur black all the way to the roots with little or no fading.  Their eyes should be either green or copper.

With their very social temperament, Bombays are well suited to homes with children or multiple pets.  They seek attention often and don’t like being left on their own for long periods of time.  They have a loud, distinctive purr and may be more vocal than other cats.

Our Bagheera has a few traits that make me suspect he’s part Bombay, such as his extremely friendly personality and his constant need for attention when he’s around people no matter their age or gender.  His face isn’t round like the Bombay and the Burmese (where the Bombay originally got its shape), but he has a long, muscular body, sleek, short black fur, black toes, and a black nose.  I don’t know that his eyes would be considered copper, more yellow maybe, but the other resemblances make me think that maybe, just maybe, he’s part Bombay.  The cat we suspect of being his sire certainly looks like a Bombay to me.  But then, it’s equally likely he’s simply a black American Shorthair.

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If you are interested in purchasing or adopting a Bombay, well, research them first!  Bombays are calm and extremely adaptable and will make themselves at home in a small apartment just as well as in a mansion.  Even so, please consider what you want in a cat before purchasing or adopting a certain breed.  Make sure their temperament and personality matches you, your family, and your circumstances as best you can.  Bombays can be considered clingy and need a lot of attention.  They can also be rather vocal, which some may consider annoying.  If you, however, want a friendly cat that’s good with kids and other animals, that enjoys learning tricks and playing games, that seeks your attention often, and resembles a miniature panther, the Bombay may be the cat for you!

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Fun Fact:  The boy-turned-cat, Thackery Binx, from the Halloween classic Hocus Pocus is said to be a Bombay, although Binx was, in fact, played by several similar looking black cats.

Do you or have you owned a Bombay? Please tell us about him/her in the comments below!  I’d love to hear about your experiences with the breed.

Have suggestions?  Comment below!

Have a breed you’d like to see featured in our next Breed of the Week?  Leave your suggestion in the comments below!

If you liked this post, please consider becoming a part of our Fluffybutt Family by liking, sharing, and/or following our blog.  We’d love to share our journey with you!

Breed of the Week: Pomeranian

I know this is late (I blame my cold 😷), but I give a big thanks to Patricia for her help in compiling the info I needed for this post while I finished Luna’s birthday post.

This week we’re looking at the little fluff balls known as Pomeranians partially because our grandma’s dog, Nanu, is half Pom and because many of my Instagram followers (shout out to all the followers of OurFluffyFam on Instagram, we love you guys!) have or are fans of this adorable little dog 😄

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Nanu

Descended from large sled dog breeds, the now-tiny Pomeranian has a long and interesting history.  Pomeranians are often referred to as “the little dog who thinks he can.”  Much like Chihuahuas, Poms have large personalities and are not deterred by their small size.  They are bright-eyed, foxy-faced, solid little dogs with an active personality and the drive to compete in sports like obedience, agility, tracking, and flyball.

Their intelligence has prompted people to train some Poms as hearing assistance dogs.  They also make excellent therapy dogs and bring delight and comfort to the sick and elderly in hospitals and nursing homes.

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Queen Victoria

Also known as Zwergspitz, Dwarf Spitz, Loulou or, affectionately, Pom or Pom Pom.  They were originally developed, though not perfected, as a breed in the Pomerania province of Germany.  They descended from larger Spitz breeds, specifically the German Spitz.  They used to be much larger, weighing in around 30 lbs.  Queen Victoria fell in love with a sable and red Pomeranian named Marco who weighed only 12 lbs.  She went on to breed more Poms and, because of Marco, she and others bred for smaller and smaller Poms.  The size of Poms dropped by half during her reign even as the breed’s popularity rose.

At only 3 to 7 pounds, Poms are the smallest of the Spitz family, which includes the Samoyed, Norwegian Elkhound, German Spitz, Schipperke, and American Eskimo Dog.

 

Pomeranians are intelligent and loyal to their families.  They do, however, sometimes bite off more than they can chew by challenging a larger and stronger dog with the mistaken impression they can win.  Such rash and dangerous behaviors can be curbed by early and frequent socialization with dogs and other animals.

With a powerful bark much bigger than their actual size, Poms make excellent watchdogs.  Due to their tendency to bark excessively, though, they should be trained early on to be quiet on command.  They tend to be wary of strangers, but will be perfectly friendly once properly introduced.

Poms don’t need a lot of exercise, only one or two daily walks or play sessions.  Their intelligence means they get bored easily.  This can be mitigated by introducing new games and tricks for them to learn.  Puzzle toys are also a great way to keep them entertained.  Training should be kept short and fun with plenty of treats, pets, and praise as Poms are known to have a short attention span.

Pomeranians adapt well to apartment living and can live comfortably in both small or large households.  Not overly dependent upon their owners, Poms can be left alone for moderate amounts of time without worry.  Small children are not recommended as they can accidentally hurt these little dogs with their small frame and thin legs.

They come in a wide variety of solid colors, with red, orange, white or cream, blue, brown, or black being the most common.  Rarely, you might see a white Pom with colored markings (called parti-colored), or a black and tan one, or even an orange and sable one.

 

Although they have a double coat, it is easy to take care of and usually only requires a regular, weekly brushing, perhaps less if they spend most of their time indoors.  Because of their double coat, they do pretty well in the cold, but one should still keep an eye on them.  Hot temperatures can be a problem because of their thick coat.  They can overheat easily, and owners should keep an especially close eye on them on hot days.  It is recommended they not be left outside alone for extended periods of time.

Discipline is important for Poms.  They are good at learning tricks, but will take over the leadership role if no one else steps up.  This behavior should not be encouraged as they can then become snappy and difficult to control.  They can be hard to housetrain, and crate training is highly recommended.  Once housetrained, it shouldn’t be difficult to train them to potty on puppy pads if one lives in a high rise apartment.

If you are interested in adopting or purchasing a Pomeranian, please do your research.  Without the proper training and socialization, Poms can be headstrong, yappy, and difficult to control.  If they have the right training and frequent socialization, however, these little dogs can be wonderful companions for just about anyone!  They’re intelligent, loyal, loving, active, and floofy dogs with a personality to match!

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Fun Fact:  2 Pomeranians were among the 3 dogs that survived the sinking of the Titanic in 1812.

Do you or have you owned a Pomeranian? Please tell us about him/her in the comments below!  I’d love to hear about your experiences with the breed.

Have suggestions?  Comment below!

Have a breed you’d like to see featured in our next Breed of the Week?  Leave your suggestion in the comments below!

If you liked this post, please consider becoming a part of our Fluffybutt Family by liking, sharing, and/or following our blog.  We’d love to share our journey with you!